Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thinking about adding tutorials

I am new to this blogging thing, as I have pretty much been balls to the walls for the past 4 years trying to graduate from each school I have attended. This time, when the "big school" rejected my application because of the missing spanish 2 class it forced me to step back a bit. I'm always taking the max amount of credits to do whatever I can trying to graduate, esp. after I finished my core Geology curriculum. However my last school then wanted me to repeat 50% of said coursework, and that made it impossible to finish/graduate before we moved again. We were supposed to be there for a few years, but as usual the Army changed their mind and were only there 11 mos. Not that I am complaining- none of us liked our last duty station and couldn't leave fast enough.

As I was getting to, the past year was a bit cathartic to me. I repeated two geology courses- one of which I was going to repeat anyways due to the aspect it was Structural Geology and I took it my first semester when I should not have. I discovered at Geology Field Camp that it would be in my best interest to repeat Structural Geology- I ended up with a B+ but could have had an A if I had some of the skills needed but was missing. I won't bash the old school, but lets just say not all courses are equal in quality. So I took Structures for a second time with a professor that was just fantastic, but brutal. I always find I learn the most from those types. The exams were 6 hours long- lab incl. Talk about killer. But wow did I learn from this man- he really was a fantastic teacher, and the students at that school had/have no clue what a gem they have by learning from such a person. They were too interested in complaining. Or cheating. I won't go into that either, but lets suffice it to say that if that had happened in Texas that group would have been booted from the school. The majority of which were grad students. I suppose nothing was done because it would have put a dent in the department- but they had to have known (other than the fact that I told him when I learned the students found a link to test answer keys hidden on the prof.'s website and brought it to his attention.) Being as the class was graded on a curve I was not very happy. However, when grades are abnormally high all of a sudden, well, I think he knew. The same group apparently did the same thing in an optical class and that Prof. (also another gem) flat out said that test scores were abnormally high compared to other years...although I think that went over their heads. I wasn't present for the latter part so cannot really (or should not) comment.

Anyhow, I could care less if someone cheats as long as it isn't a curve-based graded course. The reality of cheating is that they not only sacrificed their integrity, but in such a small field, paths tend to cross. If I ever come across one of them, or a study of theirs, I wouldn't hesitate to mention what I think about their integrity. I think that is one of the reasons why I loved the school in texas so much- the reiterated numerous times that your reputation is gained/lost at field camp, and those you are working with now will be those you work with later. Not to say cheating didn't occur- I heard once of an incident where an old test was shared, but once that was discovered it went to the department (the situation) for review. The entire class was emailed by a highly peeved lab TA in regards to that, and it was made quite clear that academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. But wow have I traveled off topic.

Back to where I was going with this post... I have been forced to slow down per se, and after I finished the Spanish (I still apparently need Span 3 but I'm choosing to forget about that right now) at a CC on post, I decided to take my math as well. I have horrible math anxiety. Horrible. I can learn calculus formulas, or basic trig from geology professors because they will put it in a way that is applicable and not abstract. I even took GeoStatistics which was extremely calculus heavy, but again, taught by a geology professor. (I was proud getting a B in that class, as it was a graduate course but they let some undergrads in by permission- loved that prof. too. He was in Kansas.) Therefore I put off the math until the very end of my academic career and truth be told, that, and not being able to grab a chem class again, has been the main reason why I haven't been able to finish up my degree. I might have been able to get a waiver at my last school after I found a geo. prof to listen to my story and take on my cause, but I was missing one math needed, and the chem. If not for that, he told me, he could have tried to champion my cause with the department. I hadn't asked it of him, so I was surprised by that. Therefore, this time I am making that a priority. I was in a chem class when I first got here, but the course was 8 weeks long and even though I had an A, and despite the prof trying to talk me out of it, I dropped because I could not keep up with the coursework. I could have finished with an acceptable grade, but I need to know (KNOW) my chem. I plan one day to take geochem, and I don't want to worry about not having a good foundation in the fundamentals. I was taking span and math at the same time and it was too much.

Now I am just taking one course at a time (because they are so accelerated- believe me, 8 weeks goes by fast) and have only math. I will continue on until I complete all math needed through grad school. Calc 3.

So.... this is the first time in 4 years that I have NOT had a geology class. Wow. I am not a happy camper. I love taking geology courses. I taught Gen. Geology lab at the last school I was at, and that was really a lot of fun. Mainly because I had my own little captive audience to talk about rocks to- talk about my dream! I think I rubbed off on them though, because by the time the course was done they seemed to like it too. I would never want to teach as a career though- oy! The excuses those students would give for not being there for exams, the cell phones, the .. well, rudeness. One guy answered his cell while in class, and I guess the group had the impression I was a very soft spoken sweet individual- but when you mess up my train of thought by being rude I turn into demon mommy (you know that voice you make when your kids push you too far and you just lose it?). I didn't even turn around from what I was writing on the board and yelled out to tell the [caller] that we [the class] all said hello and wanted to know how they were doing. I guess breaking from my general soft spoken self to demon mommy freaked out the class because I turned around to see everyone looking at me slack jawed. I in turn smiled sweetly at them all. Ha ha.. gosh that makes me laugh to myself remembering the looks on their faces.

Yikes I think my ADHD is in rare form today because I am a bit all over the place here, but no one is currently around to read this but me so I don't really care. By the time they are, I probably can say I still don't care. I'm like this in person too- its like carrying on a conversation with 3 when you talk with me. Too many thoughts, not enough time to blog about them separately else I'd edit, paste, and organize.

But this brings me back to my point about this blog. What is it anyways? I never started one before because I am not narcissistic enough to think anyone would care to read my thoughts. But then, I also don't like to do anything unless it has a purpose. Previously, I was always in a Geology department and hence, had Geology friends (in person) wherever we moved. Now I am finding myself at a bit of a loss. I am not in a geo. department. All the friends I have are now available only through phone or online. I recently had an old friend (my best friend) from HS which has kept up with me all these years email me and my response to her was a very lengthy email. She teased me about it and I was a bit embarrassed. We talk, but our chat is more of past stuff and nothing Geology ect- so .. I was surprised I even had that much to say that didn't pertain to rocks. Then I realized I was starved for conversation. Husband is at work all day, I go to classes at night, so we were passing in the night a bit. This was when I started seeing a purpose to a blog. It's not narcissism, it's an outlet. Of thoughts. I have thoughts- tons of thoughts. Maybe if I get them out I won't overwhelm those who I do have contact with again such as my previously mentioned friend.

But I also need more than that- I need a geology outlet. Not having any Geo classes or contact is rough, and I hadn't anticipated that when I chose to postpone going to the "big school" after I finished the class they were asking of me. So I am thinking about making some tutorials on different geology-related topics. Things I need to brush up on myself, but that may also be of use to anyone who stumbles across this page. Not sure if that will really happen, since I don't advertise this page and don't plan on it.. it's more for me. But if it has something someone can use and they find it, well that would be great. My first project will probably be cross sections or maybe a review on using the Brunton. If I had thought of this sooner I would have done it over my break- but my first day of class is tonight, so not sure when I will get around to it. That's the plan though. The Geocashing may have to be put on the back burner for a bit, but then there are always the small jaunts I could make. Who knows. With classes starting though, I may have to blog from my iphone while on the move. I suppose I should look into how to do that.

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